WSOP Tag Team Event

Nate and I played this together, what a great event. Nate said, and I agree, that this was one of the most fun tournaments he’s ever played.

There was such a great mix of types of teams! Of course in some cases it was just a few great players who happened to be friends playing together, but lots of people were playing with family members (George Danzer, his girlfriend, and his father were at our table for a while!), and in perhaps my favorite story from the event, Niall Farell, who lost heads up to Safiya Umerova in the $1500 no-limit shootout, tweeted “If you can’t beat them…” along with a picture of a registration receipt for a Niall/Safiya team for this event!

I wouldn’t be surprised if, for many of these teams, this was the only WSOP event they played, which means that the event was also successful in bringing in new players. There was a lot of joking and speculation about whether the event wouldn’t ruin friendships or even marriages (someone tweeted that he hoped it wouldn’t be the end of the podcast!), but from what I observed, everyone, from the most recreational players to the most serious pros, seemed to be having fun.

My girlfriend raised an interesting point that hadn’t really occurred to me: this event gives recreational players the opportunity to enter a WSOP event for less even than the $500 Colossus.¬†Ordinarily, if four friends wanted to pool their money to enter a $1000 WSOP event, only one of them could actually play, and although this does happen, it’s surely a bit disappointing for the other three. The team event enabled all four to get a taste of the WSOP experience for a cheaper price than they could anywhere else.

You might think that because it’s a bracelet event and there are also a lot of grinders taking it very seriously, that might ruin the fun for the amateurs, but that doesn’t seem right to me. I don’t imagine those folks enter an event like this thinking they are favorites to win it. In many cases, I imagine they want the full WSOP experience, they want a taste of the competitiveness and the famous pros as well as the kids in sunglasses and hoodies, etc.

All in all, it seemed a resounding success to me, and I can’t wait to play it again next year. My only regret relates to Tommy Angelo’s famous proclamation that the pleasure:pain ratio is all out of whack in a poker tournament. I misplayed two hands that resulted in our elimination, and I can say that it hurts a LOT more knowing that your mistakes brought an end to the fun for you and your friend.

Sorry Nate! Thanks for playing with me, and we’ll get them next year!

4 thoughts on “WSOP Tag Team Event

  1. Whether they planned it or stumbled into it, the WSOP has hit on a pretty great idea here. The pricing is *definitely* going to draw a recreational crowd; and that, in turn, should increase interest among pros who might otherwise skip a $1K. I also assume the rail was insanely busy, given that more than half the participants were standing on it at any one time. The poker media seemed to eat it up too; lots of great stories to write about the pros playing together, etc, and with people always on the rail, easy interview access. I could totally see this becoming a signature event if they manage its future correctly.

    I wonder if they considered putting this on a weekend. Wednesday is probably suboptimal for an event that draws significant recreational interest.

    • I agree with all of this. Making explicit something that is implicit in your post: those people on the rail are eating in the Poker Kitchen and otherwise putting money into the Rio.

      It reminded me a bit of the atmosphere around Main Event time in the 2005-7 era.

      Also, the pros seemed a bit less cranky than they usually would be, on average. Any number of explanations are possible:
      (1) A lot of the rec players who showed up were, erm, of a caliber that is really hard to get annoyed at (“they know not what they do”).
      (2) $1k / N is not so much money for a lot of the pros, or at least it’s important to them to behave as if it isn’t.
      (3) It’s fun to be playing with friends.
      (4) It’s not (all) your fault.
      (5) There’s pressure to behave respectably when one is representing more than oneself.
      (6) Virtuous circle: everyone around you seems to be having fun.

      If they market this a bit harder, improve the logistics, and put it on a weekend, it is very easy to see this becoming a signature event at the WSOP.

  2. Team play can be fun. One time I chopped 1000 euros of promotional roulette chips from a monthly leaderboard 15-way (we were meant to play poker for it but apparently the done thing was to chop). My own 66 euros of chips was tolerable to play through (particularly as the only 10 in there hit a single number), but the thing that was actually fun was the 10 euros that was left over (66×15 is 990, not 1000) which we “team played” to either run it up and split or to lose.

    Playing roulette as a team of 15 people cheering when we hit was fantastic and memorable, that 0.66 cent of equity was probably more fun than the 66 euros I played on a solitary basis.

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